- Jan. 13, 2020, 10:30 a.m. ET
Good morning. The air was soft this weekend in New York, balmy, leaving everyone blinking, a little stunned, caught between the pleasure of the weather and the calendar facts. One hundred years ago, the average temperature for this date in this city hovered below freezing. That average temperature, The Times reported on January 12, 1920, had held for the preceding 33 years.
It made me want to go soak my head. Instead, I made morning glory muffins, which taste of hippie optimism and go terrifically well with one of those big tureens of milky coffee French mothers make in my imagination, and serve to their layabout adult children on the weekends they’re home to do laundry. There are precious few emotional states that can’t be improved by coffee and muffins.
But soup works, too, and I’m in need of it: in particular, Alison Roman’s spicy noodle soup with mushrooms and herbs (above).
But have you tried the chef Cal Peternell’s recipe for braised chicken legs? It’s an endlessly adaptable set of instructions that you can take in whatever direction your pantry and palate suggest — just make sure to brown the skin well before everything goes in the oven, and use a flavorful liquid for the braise.
Alternatively, take a look at Melissa Clark’s recipe for chickpea stew with orzo and mustard greens. Don’t have orzo? Don’t have mustard greens? Make the dish anyway. As the notes on the recipe suggest, you could make this particular recipe with black beans, frozen spinach and a gym sock and still end up with a winner dinner.
Mushrooms on toast? Fish tacos? Maybe tonight is the one where you’ll try Simpson Wong’s take on a Hanoi favorite, cha ca la Wong.
Or, if nothing works, you can’t shake these images in your head of dudes in shorts on Eastern Parkway in January, of a carbonized Australia, of emaciated polar bears, take a run through our extensive guide to shopping, cooking and eating in a warming world. (People summarize the findings in different ways. I feel it comes down to a simple, declarative exhortation: Eat clams.)
There are thousands of recipes that will make you feel better about life waiting for you on NYT Cooking. (Here, for instance, are 32 ways to eat eggs for dinner.) Yes, you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions are the wall around our garden. They are also the water for our produce. Thank you for yours.
You can visit us on Facebook for free, though, and join our NYT Cooking community group if you like. We’re on Instagram, as well, and on Twitter. Do check us out on YouTube — where Melissa went recently to talk to folks about how to eat less meat in 2020.
And if something goes wrong along the way, with your cooking or with our technology, please ask us for help: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you.
Now, it’s nothing to do with duck hearts or gem lettuces, but here’s Susan Barba’s new poem, “Practice,” in The New York Times Magazine.
Also in The Times, you should read Ginia Bellafante on Elizabeth Wurtzel and the illusion of Gen-X success.
Here’s a fine new print for the collection, from the South Carolina artist Ment Nelson.
I’m not much for personal-growth initiatives — I was raised in Brooklyn — but Corey Ford recently turned me on to Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly,” and it’s a strong argument for the courage of vulnerability.
Finally, here’s Fintan O’Toole on Joe Biden in The New York Review of Books. It’s Irish on Irish, so of course the subject is death and mourning. Enjoy that, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.